MORE than a quarter of people in Bahrain could be at increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes, say researchers.
A three-month study conducted at Naim Health Centre revealed that 27 per cent of patients suffered from metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is the name given to people suffering from several disorders including abdominal obesity (measured by waist circumference – men greater than 40 inches/102 centimetres and women more than 35 inches/89cm), high blood pressure, insulin resistance and abnormal cholesterol levels.
People with this syndrome are at increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Although most people have never heard of this condition, it is quite common and affects about one in every four adults in the US.
Naim Health Centre Council head Dr Somaya Al Jowder said one of the main risk factors for this syndrome was a high waist circumference.
“Body fat that accumulates in the stomach area, known as abdominal obesity, is more of a health risk than body fat that builds up in buttocks and thigh areas,” said Dr Al Jowder.
“For this reason, your waistline provides valuable information about your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type two diabetes.
“Doctors consider a waist circumference too high if it is more than 40 inches/102 centimetres in men and more than 35 inches/89cm in women.
“An increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in persons of normal weight.”
A total of 657 Bahraini and non-Bahraini Naim Health Centre patients with abdominal obesity, aged from 20 to 50, participated in the study.
It was conducted from July 2004 to March 2005 by Dr Al Jowder and family consultant Dr Ali Mohammed.
During the study, patients had measurements taken for their height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.
“Twenty-seven per cent have this metabolic syndrome and this is very high. Our food, work habits and sedentary lifestyles need to change,” Dr Al Jowder told the GDN.
“Many obese people in Bahrain have this problem, but if we treat signs of it early, we can avoid some of these problems. If people have early signs of this syndromen, we can advise them to change their lifestyles, by exercising and changing their diet.”

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